Impaled Nazarene – “Eight Headed Serpent” (Osmose Productions)
Battle Helm Rating
Along with Beherit, Impaled Nazarene were at the forefront of Finland’s black metal scene back in the early 90s, and arguably rose to become its biggest name, playing shows as far as the US and releasing 12 prior albums across their 31-year career. Despite countless line-up changes, as well as evolutions in style and sound, main man Mika Luttinen remains at the forefront, with scarcely a let up in his primordial screams and bestial roars, while tastefully adding death grunts to his vocal arsenal on the 13 tracks making up “Eight Headed Serpent”. While the band may have started as black metal, Impaled Nazarene now incorporate the winning aspects of death, thrash and punk into their maelstrom, which remains as intense as ever! Blast beating in bitterly on ‘Shock And Awe’, the black metallic guitars immediately capture you with their whirring riffola as Luttinen drawls grimly, death grunting as the drums maintain their fierce pace while using the cymbal work to demonstrate some percussive finesse. Jumping in with an upbeat punky groove on ‘The Nonconformists’, the riffs radically shift into catchy d-beat nihilism while the snare beats hammer in as Luttinen’s raw vocals match it all brilliantly to once again grab your attention as they send you into a headbanging frenzy – wow! Screaming and power riffing in on ‘Debauchery And Decay’, the blast beats and whirring decadent riffs set the pit off once again and send the heart racing in a brilliant black / thrash / punk mix as Luttinen drawls, spits and death grunts like the master that he his amid all the frenzied mayhem about him. Certainly a shocker to some, but quite typical to those who’ve known the band since the early days, along with their partner label Osmose, who have long been renowned for delivering extreme music, although certainly not without sophistication.